A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 2. The camera.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

Taken at 7.45 this morning, before the sun was officially up!

This morning I woke up. It was a bright, sunny day and the birds were gently tweeting their morning chorus. It made me feel lucky to be alive. I couldn’t wake to spring out of bed and greet the day with big, open arms.

Ah well, no. Not really. None of that is true. This morning it was dark, foggy, cold and wet. Truth be told, apart from the fog lifting, it didn’t get much better as the day went on. Yesterday was the same. It was raining sideways. Sideways. Still, I figured that this would all be a good test for a phone camera. After all, we don’t all live in California, do we?

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

Truth be told, I’m properly impressed with the camera. I’ve taken lots of low-light shots and the image comes out in the exact way that your eyes see the scene. Fire up the camera app and the AI will kick in, recognising the scene and adjusting the camera settings to suit. It happens quickly and it’ll add a touch of brightness if you’re snapping a photo of a letter or something out of the paper. Likewise, if you’re taking a photo of a person, a flower or the sky, it’ll quickly adjust all the geeky bits of the camera to ensure that you get the best photo.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

You can hit the menu in the corner and do some fun photo stuff like tilt-shift or a straightening option which stops your photos going off at a weird angle. This all happens extremely quickly thanks to the Snapdragon 845, the pots of memory and the Adreno 630 GPU.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

Now I’ll admit that I’ve left the watermark on all these shots – you can turn it off. In addition, you can choose whether you want location info, the time stamp, gridlines, and you can adjust picture quality and whether the volume buttons act as a shutter or not. There’s a Group selfie mode which takes a batch of photos so that you can select which looks best, a beautify mode, a timer and a stack of filters to play with.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

I couldn’t find a tracking focus option, but I was glad to see HDR set to auto and I rarely used the flash because the low-light shots came out great.

Other options include a video mode, a short video mode and a portrait mode to let you blur the background. A panorama and a manual mode for the camera-geeks is also available and, whilst it might not quite have all the bells and whistles of other camera apps on top-end phones, I was really impressed with the fact that there actually weren’t too many options. They’ve got the basics spot on. The camera shoots brilliant photos, even in the darkest and wettest of days at the very end of November.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

This, and I’m not over-selling it, is up there as one of the best camera setups I’ve ever used on a phone. The colours are brilliant and true to life. The low light shots are great and the performance of the camera app is nippy, simple and without too much bloat and unnecessary gubbins.

First, here’s a night shot of the Christmas tree being turned on near me. It was drizzling, there were car headlights coming into shot and it was pitch black, plus I blurred the lens with my greasy gloves (which caused the streaks on the upper right) but it still came out very well and it showed the small amounts of light in the sky too, which I loved.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

Anyways, onto the example shots 🙂 Here’s some examples when the sun was out..

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

This is like an old Windows XP backdrop

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

The AI system picked this up as a plant / tree but also switched to “cloud” mode

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

I think I was trying to be artistic here..

Here’s a dull interior shot..

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

It was very dark on this shot but it came out brilliantly

Now back outside and it’s overcast, dark, raining in places. You can see the mist / fine rain in the distance on some of these photos. There really wasn’t a great deal of light but it performed well.

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Here’s a comparison shot I took last night. First, the street on a Samsung Galaxy S7..

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

Taken on a Galaxy S7

Pretty good, I’m sure you’ll agree, but now let’s see that same shot on the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

For me it just looks more natural. The colours are truer to those I was seeing with my own eyes. The light on the side of the house looked a bit paler and washed out on the Samsung shot, whereas it was more realistic on the Mi 8 Pro.

Here’s full zoom..

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

Here’s another test of the zoom, from normal, to half, then full zoom.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera. A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera. A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro   Day 2. The camera.

Now for a video test, and I have given the zoom a bit of a try here too. It got a bit wobbly because I was at maximum zoom (not something you’d normally do in video) but there was a lot of image stabilization going on and it worked very well.

More to come on the Mi 8 Pro – keep tuned !

The post A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 2. The camera. is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

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OnePlus team up with McLaren

OnePlus team up with McLaren
If you’re going to imprint the feeling of speed into the minds of customers, it’s probably not going to hurt if you partner with an F1 racing team, right?

That’s exactly what OnePlus have just done. They’re going to host a “Salute to Speed” event on December 11th, which you can find out more about on their website here. It’ll be hosted in the McLaren Technology Centre, although OnePlus are keeping a little tight-lipped on what will be happening. We’re imagining that you’ll be seeing a lot of tech, a lot of fast cars and a helping of smartphones.

Their blog post doesn’t reveal a great deal, but certainly gives us quite a background on McLaren themselves…

United in our passion for speed, the combination of a premium smartphone maker and a legendary Formula 1 outfit inspires immediate excitement. McLaren is known around the world as one of the most successful teams in Formula 1 history, and a pioneer in applying F1 innovation to the automotive industry.

In many ways, McLaren’s story reminded me of our own. Like McLaren, our goal has always been to develop premium products with a focus on speed and performance. To us, every detail matters, no matter how small. The world’s fastest and smoothest smartphone experience is only possible thanks to the efforts of a team with a singular focus on speed. From fluid and lag-free gaming to a reliably fast and cool charging experience, OnePlus has consistently set and raised the bar for speed.

So, they’re going to be going really quickly and using the latest technology in an “uncompromising devotion to craftsmanship and relentless innovation”.

The post OnePlus team up with McLaren is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News

Best Lifetime VPN Deals

With Black Friday and cyber Monday now just distant memories, you might think that you’ve missed out on all the good offers, however, we’ve taken a look around at the latest VPN offers. There’s some great deals if you’re prepared to dive in for a few years at a time, and many VPN providers are offering great discounts as well as lifetime VPN Deals to attract the masses. If you want to reap the benefits of a VPN over a longer period, we have sorted the best VPN services out there with lifetime subscriptions. So without further ado, let’s get started:

PureVPN

Deal: Get 88% Off on PureVPN’s 5-year Plan

Best Lifetime VPN Deals

I’ve used PureVPN for quite a while. They protect your security and you can also access geo-restricted websites and content from anywhere in the world. Basically put, you can be sitting in your kitchen in London and, with the click of a mouse, your laptop is transported to New York or Australia – getting you around any region locks. The service has apps for all major mobile and desktop platforms and offers 24/7 customer support if you get stuck.

They have a huge network of 2,000+ servers in 141+ countries and their offer comes with impressive privacy and security features like the revolutionary Gravity and Ozone, as well as split tunneling, internet kill switch, DNS leak protection, among others.

PureVPN has opened their 5-year plan for just $1.32/m – this is the same price as Black Friday!

Ivacy

Ivacy allows its users to enjoy access various blocked streaming sites such Netflix and Hulu. The best thing about it is: ease of use – no additional settings are required. You also get robust 256-bit encryption for rock-solid security.

With 450+ servers in 100+ locations, Ivacy has what it takes to keeps your anonymity unharmed. It uses a number of security protocols and offers useful features like secure DNS, internet kill switch, and IPv6 leak protection.

Stay tuned to Ivacy’s website for more details about their lifetime VPN deal.

Windscribe

Windscribe VPN not only encrypts your traffic, but also blocks ads and allows unrestricted access to the entertainment content you want to view. It can easily support 5 devices simultaneously with a single account and offers fast connection speeds.

It has servers placed in 55+ countries and 100+ cities worldwide, and gives users access to features like firewall, timezone spoofing, AES-256 bit encryption, etc. The service also has a free-version with limited locations that you can try out.

Head to Windscribe’s website if you’re looking for the latest offers.

ProtonVPN

With ProtonVPN, you get the perfect blend of performance and cost affectivity. It has 300+ servers spread over 28 countries and can support up to 2-5 devices with a single account. Moreover, it offers great connection speeds ensuring a smooth browsing, downloading, or torrenting experience.

It’s packed with security features like Secure Core, forward secrecy, and AES-256 bit encryption. Proton VPN doesn’t keep data logs and is very clear, strict and transparent with its privacy policy. It holds an excellent Windows clientele.

ProtonVPN doesn’t have a lifetime VPN subscription, but they have discounts on their Plus subscriptions from time to time.

HideMyAss

HideMyAss is another great VPN option. They’ve been around for a while now and have servers spread across 280+ locations, but you can only connect one device at a time. The VPN service is particularly ideal for the beginners because of its incredible ease of use.

It has a zero logging policy which is transparent and clear. Additionally, it automatically detects the fastest server near the user and connects to it respectively. It may not offer much in comparison to other providers on this list, but does enough to ensure smooth content streaming, anonymous browsing and secure banking.

HideMyAss doesn’t have a lifetime VPN subscription, but offers discounts on their 2-year plan.

VPNSecure

VPNSecure enables you to get around geo-restrictions and keeps you data protected from cybercriminals and other interested parties. It keeps your location and IP address hidden and supports torrent.

There are no caps on bandwidth, and it supports 5 devices at a time which allows you to secure all the devices you have at home. It helps its users evade DNS leak fixes and offers internet kill switch among other interesting features.

Final Word

And that’s about it. We hope this list of the best lifetime VPN deals will help you choose the right VPN for your needs at a fraction of the cost!

The post Best Lifetime VPN Deals is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News

Senators Want ZTE's Link with Venezuela Probed by White House

ZTE has fallen into the U.S. government’s crosshairs once again, this time thanks to its involvement with Venezuela. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that ZTE supplied Venezuela’s state telecommunications firm with gear from Dell. The equipment helped Venezuela create a database that uses something called the “fatherland card” to track citizens’ behavior. Data collected by the card and the Venezuelan government includes financial and medical history, social media use, political affiliation, and whether a person voted. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D) and Marco Rubio (R) plan to submit a letter to the U.S. secretaries of state, treasury, and commerce to determine if ZTE collaborated with people under U.S. sanction, whether the U.S. gear was used unlawfully, and whether ZTE helped Venezuela spy on its citizens. Hollen and Rubio are concerned that ZTE used Dell’s equipment in the database. The senators want to know “whether ZTE violated U.S. export controls with respect to the installation of data storage units built by Dell.” ZTE is effectively on parole with the U.S. government. In April, the U.S. accused ZTE of violating a previous settlement concerning illegal equipment sales to Iran and North Korea. The company paid a $1 billion fine after it slogged through a three-month ban on the use of U.S. hardware and software. Many Venezuelan government officials are under sanction by the U.S. for authoritative behavior and human rights violations. If ZTE did in fact sell Dell equipment to Venezuela’s government that was then used to spy on the people of Venezuela, it’s possible ZTE violated its agreement with the U.S. Dell said it has no record of a sale to ZTE. No parties from the Venezuelan government or from ZTE commented on Reuters’ story.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Instagram Adds AI to App for Improved Accessibility

Instagram today introduced two new tools that the visually impaired can put to use. First, Instagram is turning on automatic alternative text so the visually impaired can hear better, more detailed descriptions of photos that are displayed under the Feed, Explore, and Profile tabs. Instagram says this tool relies on object recognition to generate the photo descriptions. Similarly, photos uploaded by the visually impaired will rely on custom alternative text for more accurate descriptions. Instagram called these changes a first step forward improving the social network.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Project Fi Earns a New Name, Opens Up to More Phones

Good today renamed its MVNO, Project Fi, to Google Fi. Along with the name change comes dramatically expanded compatibility with phones. Moving forward, the service will work with most Android phones as well as the Apple iPhone. The process of activating Fi on Android devices will be straightforward. Google says compatibility with iPhones is in beta and will require people to jump through a few more hoops, including the use of an iOS app. Basic service will be available to the majority of devices. Fi operates on T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and WiFi, dynamically jumping to the strongest connection. Subscribers will need specific phones, listed on the Fi web site, to get this benefit, as proper LTE support is required. Google recently added VPN protection to Fi. The base service costs $20 per month for unlimited voice and text. Google charges $10 per gigabyte of data. People interested in the service will need to order SIM cards from the Google Fi web site. The service does not require contracts.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Review: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100

Plantronics’ first foray into the truly wireless headphone space targets those who are always on the go. The BackBeat Fit 3100 fall into the company’s sport and fitness range, making them a viable option for people who value stability and sweat resistance during their workouts.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Apple to Give More for Old iPhones On Trade-In Deal

Apple will give you more money for your old iPhone if you trade it in for a new one. Specifically, Apple has upped the trade-in value of the iPhone 6/Plus, 6s/Plus, 7/Plus, and 8. For example, the iPhone 6 had a trade-in value of $75, but now has a value of $150. The iPhone 7 had a trade-in value of $175 and now has a value of $250. The trade has to be made through Apple when upgrading to an iPhone Xr ($749) or iPhone Xs ($999). The value will be applied as a refund toward the new phone or an Apple Store Gift Card. Phones ineligible for credit can be recycled. Apple said the improved trade-in values will be honored for a limited time.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

LG Brings In New Leadership for Mobile Unit

LG today announced leadership and organizational changes that it hopes will improve the fortunes of its mobile business unit, which has suffered losses perennially. The current head of LG’s Home Entertainment Company, Brian Kwon, will add the Mobile Communications Company to his plate. LG says Kwon helped transform its TV, audio, and PC businesses. The company thinks Kwon can use his expertise to effect similar improvement to the mobile device business. The current president of LG’s phone business, Hwang Jeong-hwan, who filled the role for just one year, will transition to a position with LG’s Convergence Business Development Office. The overall CEO of LG Electronics, Jo Seong-jin, will focus on strategy and assign more of his responsibilities to president and CFO David Jung. Jung will be responsible for day-to-day business operations. In addition to the executive shuffle, LG renamed two business units. The Vehicle Components Company will be renamed the Vehicle Component Solutions Company and the Business-to-Business Company will become the Business Solutions Company. The changes go into effect December 1.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 1. A tour

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 1. A tour
I went a bit crazy about the Mi 8 Pro during the launch. Was it the free wine they were giving out? Was it the fact that it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I was drinking on an empty stomach? Well, perhaps some of that, but I loved the fact that you could see bits of the phone through the back panel. That’s just cool, and no matter how many times people tell me that it’s all fakery and “just a mock-up” on the back, I still like it. I like the little touches and the attention to detail. I like how fast the thing goes. I like how good the camera is and how well photos match the real-life image.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 1. A tour

But hey, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me give you the intro to this week-long review. A week-long review that I’m starting on a Wednesday. Yes. Crazy.

Price then. It’s £499 network-free from Xiaomi UK. That’s a great price considering that this is a flagship. This is top end. Proper top end. (Just don’t mention the lack of wireless charging) from Xiaomi.

Wait, who?

Read all about who Xiaomi are here. They’re the world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer and are just behind Apple in terms of market share. They’re the big smartphone company that nobody has ever heard of, and that’s where the battle begins. People are always a little unsure about companies if they’ve never heard of them.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 1. A tour

Back to this particular handset then, and you can tell straight from the get-go that this is a fantastic phone. Built with an aluminium frame, it comes equipped with a 6.21″ 1080×2248 pixel Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen and feels great in the hand. At 177g it hits that perfect mid-point and the smooth curves make it feel like a pebble in your hands. The edges curve towards the back panel, which as you’ll no doubt see from my endless pictures, shows off some chips, an NFC panel and several nice little touches from the makers themselves. Sadly there’s no wireless charging here though.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 1. A tour

If there’s one thing I took away from the launch in London, it was the fact that the Xiaomi really have a passion and love for their customers and the kit they make. This phone really looks the business and has tiny phrases like “Be the coolest company in the hearts of our users” printed on the back section. No fingerprint sensor here because it’s all on the screen – more about that in a moment.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 1. A tour

You’ll also see, complete with red trim, the two lenses – both 12 megapixel – one wide-angle and one telephoto. They’re “Ultra light-sensitive” and by God, they work well – I’ll talk about them more tomorrow. There’s lots of AI cleverness going on there and, up front, a 20 megapixel unit for your selfies. There’s fat pixels in the cameras which are 25% larger than other phones. They let in more light and there’s dual pixel autofocus for speedy focus changes.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 1. A tour

The phone is powered by a blisteringly-quick Snapdragon 845 CPU running at 2.8GHz. It has a Qualcomm Adreno 630 GPU, up to 710MHz. It has 8GB RAM. It has 128GB storage. It basically has a V8 engine under the hood with superchargers. Faaaast, with a capital “F”.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 1. A tour

On the side, you get a slide-out tray which – on the model I have here – has two SIM cards. Up top, a microphone hole for noise cancellation and, on the other edges, a cool red power button and volume controls plus – at the bottom – a USB-C charging port and speakers.

At the , Corning Gorilla Glass 5, Android 8.1 (Oreo) and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip. That CPU is an octa-core (4×2.8 GHz & 4×1.8) and you get an Adreno 630 GPU. It’s got 128GB of storage and 8GB of memory.

The 6.21″ AMOLED display is a 2248 x 1080 FHD+ unit with 402 ppi and looks really nice indeed. It represents the colours perfectly but you can adjust the warmth, tweak the colours, the contrast, text size, brightness and also turn “Reading mode” on so that it doesn’t melt your eyes.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 1. A tour

On the screen is an on-screen fingerprint sensor. I’ve used it daily and it’s fairly decent. It doesn’t like wet fingers or a smudged screen, but to be fair this is a problem that every on-screen reader is going to have – you’re going to be dragging your finger over the screen during your day-to-day usage, and that’s going to blur the part of the screen doing the sensing. That said, you can always swipe up and enter your PIN to get in that way.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 1. A tour

Other specs include dual-band WiFi, DLNA, Bluetooth 5.0 and a trick dual-band GPS system that stops that madness when the signal is bouncing off buildings. There’s NFC and there’s an IR face detection system that’ll unlock the screen, even in the dark, by recognising your face.

Other specs include Quick Charge 4.0+ and a 3000 mAh battery.

More tomorrow, and I’ll be concentrating on the camera, so tune in people 🙂

 

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